My mine, p.7
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       My Mine, p.7

           Stephen Brandon
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Nine years later

  First Mining Trip

  Sam, James, and Bill watched the launch from low Earth orbit of the mining ship. The crew consisted of three pilots, and ten miners. Using the existing technology helped them meet the estimated schedule.

  Twelve scientist from universities in five country's were paying passengers.

  Sam commented, “Well the secret will be out as soon as they arrive. At least we got our million and stock today. Do you think we'll see any more money?”

  James commented, “Yes, provided the governments don't stop the Asteroid Exploration, Colonization, and Mining Company. It has charters from the US, EU, Russian block, and the UN. It took eleven years from our first meeting. Two of my boys and one of the girls are already talking about moving out there as soon as a colony is setup.”

  Sam then said, “My wife also wants to move out there as soon as they have an observatory setup. The children think the idea is neat. I guess I'll be going out there too.” I can see most of my money from the second and third trips going into to building the observatory. She is already in the planning phase to see what will be needed and estimating cost.”

  Two years and eleven days later the mining ship arrived at the asteroid. On the first survey they found three others that were similar. The Captain of the mining ship decided that they would mine the smallest of the four. The ten scientific modules were deployed fifty miles distance. The ship then returned to the asteroid. One hundred and eighteen days later the cargo hold was full of quickly cooling liquid metal. Using the maneuvering thrusters only the ship moved toward the scientific modules.

  All the scientist and their data were loaded by day three hundred. The scientific modules were tethered to a large asteroid. The ship using its chemical rockets moved out of the asteroid belt, and then the ion engines were started.

  After a close pass of Mars for a radar and picture survey, the mining ship headed home. Five years and sixty-five days later a stable orbit was obtained and the first shuttle headed toward Earth with half the scientist, and a thirty one cubic foot blocks of metal cut from the cargo. Each cube was stamped with the date, weight, and certified to have been mined in the asteroid belt. Upon landing in southern California they were unloaded photographed and then the online auction started. The cubic foot blocks averaged eighteen million each for a total of 338 million dollars after fees and taxes. The corporation was now less than a billion in debt for development expenses and hardware.

  The second shuttle down brought thirty, one cubic blocks and these were stamped second load. These also were put up for auction. The estimated amount of palladium in those blocks caused the palladium price to drop to around five hundred an ounce. Even gold dropped below one thousand an ounce. They still profited over 214 million.

  The third auction that year profited over 200 million. With palladium so plentiful even the colleges were experimenting with it for its possible uses in alloys. The corporation decided to hold the rest of the cargo in orbit and put in for the permits to build a smelter in orbit.

  The first requirement they received was the smelter station had to have enough rocket power to move to a higher orbit. The engineers calculated that sixteen ion engines would fulfill that requirement. Then they added chemical thrusters for maneuvering. The engineers aboard the mining ship did wonders rebuilding it their first year.

  Less than two years later some college genius discovered that an inch of palladium alloyed with copper and zinc was as effective as a foot of lead. Suddenly the price of palladium doubled overnight. Several governments wanted their remaining cargo.

  The corporation turned in its written decision to the UN. It said in all its legalize that the corporation was moving the mining ship and station to the Earth-Moon L1 point and there they would manufacture the palladium alloy sheets for any government or corporation that brought them the other required metals plus any needed supplies to maintain the station. All contracts would include supply list. Their first order of business would be to make the smelter station self-sufficient. This requirement was non-negotiable, because the station would not be starved into submission. The rebuilt mining ship shuttled supplies from low Earth orbit to the L1 point continuously. The original scientist living quarters turned out to be perfect for the L1 crew. They added dirt and hydroponic gardens within a year and started growing their own food, with the side effect of generating an increasingly large percentage to their needed oxygen.

  Eight years after the first mining ship returned the corporation requested permission to ship a few dozen one pound bars of pure refined gold to Earth. India and China were the two main bidders with minor orders from the USA, EU, France, and Russia. In the news several politicians belabored the point that their governments should go back on the gold standard for their currency.

  Nine more years – Second mining trip

  With that information the corporation announced that it was planning another mining mission to the asteroid belt. A percentage of the cargo would be designated to the corporations and governments that assisted in the construction cost. Delivery would be made to their low Earth orbit stations. The new ship was completed and ready to launch in just over two years. Five years later when they returned there were eight low Earth stations, of which three had self-sufficient environments rivaling the two L1 mining stations. The corporation even had a small tourism program along with a constant stream of scientist. All scientific equipment was left at the station as part of their fee. All the tourist were required to ship specific items to the station as part of their fee.

  Bill died in a collapsed building during an earthquake just before Bradley moved off Earth, but Bradley had told him of his plans. Bill never got into space, but he died knowing that man was on his way, even if the motivation was for the wrong reason.

  Dr. Johnson's grandson, Bradley, had moved to the L1 station for his astronomy research. As a stockholder in the corporation he suggested the route of the third mining expedition by giving the corporation a list of asteroids and their probable metal content.

  Five more years – Third mining trip

  The third mining expedition departed the station six months after the second ship return. This trip had no scientist aboard. The corporation had quietly gathered fifteen couples that wanted to leave Earth to operate the smaller L1 station. It accompanied the mining ship to the asteroid belt, and remained to mine asteroids. The plans were for the next several trips to include a fabrication station, and a larger station to become the main colony.

  Finally man had slipped his bond to Earth after forty-two years, not for a noble cause, but out of greed! The colonist had freedom unheard of on Earth and a constant flow of luxury items, but with these came the requirement for hard dangerous dangerous work.

  At first it was only a dozens, then hundreds, then thousands moving into space.

  Within seventy years there were several corporations that had spacecraft on regular routes to the asteroid belt. The trips were long and hard, but the crews usually made enough to retire and bring their families up to the new space stations. The richest stations were those in the asteroid belt, mining, until several moved further out.

  * * *

  (End of students story, return to main story)

  *Return to Main Table of Contents(ToC)*

  # # #

  * * * * *


  My wife has put up with me for over forty five years. Without her support and love I don't know who, what, or where I would be, so I thank her from the bottom of my heart!

  I wish to thank a very smart young lady for proofing this story for grammatical errors, thank you Cam.

  I also wish to thank Jason, who read my story or errors.

  Cover consist of original artwork by Wendi plus a modified photo of Gaspra asteroid photo taken in 1991, courtesy of NASA.

  * * * * *

  About the Stephen Brandon

  I've loved westerns and science fiction since I picked up m
y first book at the public library.

  My first real job out of High School was with Greensboro Loom Reed at $0.97 per hour. Twenty years in the US Army, several other fill in low paying jobs and finally a job with a cable company; give me a perspective about how differently life is looked at. I've also seen many peoples characteristics, some I would like my grandchildren to emulate and others I wouldn't wish upon an enemy.

  I hope you enjoy them all!

  Other books by Stephen Brandon


  SATURN2020 series

  The Impossible Ambition


  The Alien Spacecraft

  The Asteroid Belt

  spin off from the SATURN2020 series

  Az's Children

  The Ones Before

  The Belt Archives - Hacked

  Miscellaneous Fiction & Short Stories

  Grandpas Hot Sauce

  Pacific 41

  Scout Expedition

  The Plan and other short stories

  From Texas to New York

  Just My Opinion, Some Old & New Ideas

  5 Short Stories

  A New Precedent

  Connect with Stephen Brandon

  Review my writings at Saturn2020 or go to your favorite retailer and leave a review.

  My other website (under construction but view-able): Saturn Stories

  Write me a note: Your thoughts!

  ~(return to top)~

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